Giant estate stood in Liverpool for just 50 years

Giant estate stood in Liverpool city centre for just 50 years but will never be forgotten

Gerard Gardens was a landmark in Liverpool

The memories of Gerard Gardens are still strong for the people who lived there

Liverpool city centre is constantly re-inventing itself and one of the landmarks that has been lost over the years is Gerard Gardens.

Even though it only stood for 50 years and wasn't flattened until quite recently in the late 1980s, it's one of those places that has a legendary, almost mythic status in the city's history.

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People who lived or grew up there still have fond memories of the sprawling estate, and are fiercely proud of their roots.

No-one who saw it could forget its vast scale or imposing appearance. Yet, despite that, it had a strong sense of community and identity which sometimes eludes more modern developments.

One former resident remembered: "It was like our sanctuary and we never had to venture outside those four walls.

"It was just a lovely neighbourhood."

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For a traditionally left-wing city such as Liverpool, it's appropriate that the inspiration for the design of Gerard Gardens was the Karl Marx Hof development in Vienna.

This was visited by a delegation from Liverpool Corporation looking for ideas for social housing, and they even copied such ideas as statues over the arch.

Designed and built in the 1930s by architect Sir Lancelot Keay, it faced what is now the main building of Liverpool John Moores University.

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While Gerard Gardens would have been considered state-of-the-art when it opened, this kind of housing quickly fell out of favour.

With its monolithic brutalist design, central playground area, and washing hanging on balconies, it seemed like a throwback to a different era long before the demolition teams moved in.

But the memories remain strong.

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  1. Gerard Gardens, newly opened in 1937.

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  2. An imposing entrance. Members of the Liverpool council and corporation officials plus members of the public, photographed entering Gerard Gardens during a visit organised by the Liverpool housing department. September 17, 1937.

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  3. Picture from circa 1936 at Gerard Gardens, Lionel House. It was a predominately Catholic area, and the apartments would be decorated for the May procession, in reverence of the Virgin Mary.

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  4. King's Regiment soldiers at the start of a march near Gerard Gardens through Liverpool city centre, May 18 1962

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  5. A group of youngsters playing outside the city's Gerard Gardens tenements in the 1960s. The flats were demolished in 1987

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  6. Gerard Gardens 1966 from The Streets and Tenements off Scottie Road DVD

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  7. This lovely old photograph shows Gerard Gardens back in 1967.

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  8. Entrance to Gerard Gardens, Christian Street, Liverpool. Circa 1970s.

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  9. Gerard Gardens, Liverpool, 1973

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  10. A rare colour pic of children growing up at Gerard Gardens

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  11. Firemen tackling a blaze at Gerard Gardens, the fire involved a top floor flat and soon spread to the roof, but was quickly brought under control. Circa 1980s.

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  12. Dora Molloy, a resident of Gerard Gardens, a tenement block in Liverpool city centre: January 22, 1986.

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  13. Gerard Gardens, Liverpool, 1986

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  14. Gerard Gardens, Liverpool, 1986

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  15. Mr Leonard Boffey at his home in Gerard Gardens, a tenement block in Liverpool city centre. 25th June 1987

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  16. Mrs Katie Williams ex-resident of Gerard Gardens who has now been re-housed to a new home in nearby St Joseph's Close. She and her neighbours had chosen to stay in Gerard Gardens until they were offered houses near to each other, which has now happened. October 30, 1987.

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